Drawing from every stage of the Nobel laureate's career, Derek Walcott's Selected Poems brings together famous pieces from his early volumes, including "A Far Cry from Africa" and "A City's Death by Fire," with passages from the celebrated Omeros and selections from his latest major works, which extend his contributions to reenergizing the contemporary long poem. Here we find all of Walcott's essential themes, from grappling with the Caribbean's colonial legacy to his conflicted love of home and of Western literary tradition; from the wisdom-making pain of time and mortality to the strange wonder of love, the natural world, and what it means to be human. We see his lifelong labor at poetic crafts, his broadening of the possibilities of rhyme and meter, stanza forms, language, and metaphor. Edited and with an introduction by the Jamaican poet and critic Edward Baugh, this volume is a perfect representation of Walcott's breadth of work, spanning almost half a century.
Walcott has captured his islands with a lushness and richness rare in our poetry - the outposts of empire once seemed as strange as Kipling's India or Bishop's Brazil. If air travel has brought them closer, it has brought their tragedies closer as well. No living poet has written verse more delicately rendered or distinguished than Walcott, though few individual poems seem destined to be remembered. For more than half a century he has served as our poet of exile - a man almost without a country, unless the country lies wherever he has landed, in flight from himself.